Small Palm Trees

Short Palm Tree Varieties

The best small palm trees to plant in pots or smaller landscapes. Different types of palm houseplants. Landscaping with low growing palm plants. Short, bushy palms you can use like shrubs.

Phoenix roebelenii acts as a focal point in this small yard's landscape design.



Define Small Palm

In the interest of clarity, I'm going to define small palms as those trees which mature to a height no taller than 20 feet.

Most palm varieties grow considerably taller than this, so palm trees less than 20 feet tall are an exclusive and useful group.

A small palm tree can be planted in the most diminutive of spaces. Palms of all sizes normally have small root systems. Small palms require even less soil in which to grow.

Many modern homes feature a small planting bed beside the path to the front door or near the driveway. Most trees cannot be planted this close to the house because of the damage their roots may eventually do.

Use a small palm to add height to these beds. Plant flowering annuals at the palm's feet for a punch of color.

Small Palm Tree Varieties

Bushy Kinds of Palm Trees

Coontie palms used as shrubs at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Fl.

These small palm trees can be used just like shrubs in zones where they are winter hardy.

  • The interesting trunk of Serenoa repens creeps along the ground. It can be trimmed to expose the trunks or left bushy. It can grow to 9 feet but more often grows to 6.
  • Sabal minor looks just like S. repens but is a smidge smaller topping out at 5 feet.
  • The Florida native coontie ranges from 3-5 feet at maturity.
  • The Cardboard Palm is related to the coontie and it grows to the same height.

Small Palms to Use as Houseplants

A beautiful Ponytail palm tree growing in a pot.

Some of the best palms to grow indoors aren't really palms at all.

The Ponytail or Elephant's Foot Palm is one of these.

Its long, cascading foliage give it a palm-like demeanor.

When planted in the ground in a frost-free zone, the Ponytail plant may eventually reach 20 feet in height and spread to 10.

This would take decades.

It can be kept small indefinitely by planting it in a pot.

Another palm lookalike that grows slowly and keeps well in containers is Cycas revoluta, the King Sago palm. C. revoluta looks like a small shrub when it is young, but will eventually develop a trunk and lose its shrub-like appearance.

If you want to make a bonsai palm, these are the best varieties to use.

A lady palm growing in a pot.

The Lady Palm is a true palm tree that performs beautifully under indoor lighting conditions.

The specimen in this photo has been trimmed to expose the canes.

This small palm tree can also be used as a hedge. Here's what it looks like with the leaves left on.

Lady palm hedge.

Different Kinds of Palm Trees

Cold Hardy Palm Trees

The Best Palm Varieties to Plant in Florida

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